* Posts by 2Fat2Bald

160 posts • joined 4 May 2012


cmd.exe is dead, long live PowerShell: Microsoft leads aged command-line interpreter out into 'maintenance mode'


Don't get me wrong, powershell can do some good stuff, but CMD.exe has some lovely, simple, familiar stuff in it that people use daily. I like it a lot and will mourn it's passing.

But. Nothing lasts forever.

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals


Something similar happened to me around 20 years ago. Having decided to stop screwing around and actually work for a living I took a year out and did City-and-Guilds. However it transpires that the course I'm on A) had no real-world currency with the intended profession and B) Even if I DID get a job, it didn't pay well as many are called and few are chosen C) I wasn't likely to be chosen, as I didn't got to the "right school". So. F*ck that.

I had discovered that years of gaming had basically equipped me for Helpdesk work, though. So I started to do that instead. And here I am. My one regret about my IT career is that I didn't start it ten years earlier (immediately after leaving school). That said, I had a lot of fun without one.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


Note how they want the work done for free. Work they could have paid for at any time in the last few decades.......

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?


I've actually had something similar happen. Some mandarin mandated that all printers MUST be turned off to save power because he saw somewhere that printers draw a lot of current. So everyone runs around turning printers off before going home for the night. Fast forward a few weeks and they want to know why the printers are no longer auto-ordering consumables using the system that audits them once a day out-of-hours to see if they need any consumables.

See if you can guess why.

This is why they have power-save. Which these days works remarkably well, and explains why you occasionally have to wait for the thing to warm up before it prints if you print at an unusual time.

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots


I think it depends on what you mean by "rebooted". Are these systems that stay live in the aircraft when it isn't in use? - if they are then there might be a problem. If they shutdown when the aircraft isn't in use then they're going to get a reboot pretty regularly and I doubt they'd ever get to the end of the period.

Anyway it isn't hard to fix. All sorts of things need to be checked before/after a flight. So you just add it to that checklist. "Has the aircraft been rebooted in the last 40 days?". But that's so straightforward I reckon they'd have thought of it already.

Alternatively. Build it into the aircraft's own software to reboot (or refuse to operate without one!) automatically every so often. Again, seems too easy..

So I reckon there has to be more to this one.

UK Carphone Warehouse shops set to sling their last phones, 2.9k redundancies hit high street, as Dixons closes all 531 'standalone' sites


It's a shame, but it's been pretty obvious that even CPW didn't want their stores any more. When upgrade came around I got several calls from their call centre trying to get me to upgrade over the phone. It struck me as a little disloyal to the stores. When I've had problems the stores can't help me, beyond call the call centre on my behalf which I appreciate but it strikes me that they could give the stores access to the same system(s) to deal with returns/repairs. They the stores are intentionally being neutered to a position less effective than the call centre or website.

I have to say I've almost always had good experienced with CPW stores. I liked going in and fondling the handsets before buying one & the staff have always been helpful.

A cynic might imagine that - whilst this isn't directly caused by Covid-19 - this is hardly going to be the major news story it otherwise might have been right now. So the timing could be opportunistic. Which would be pretty shitty to be honest.

Game over, man: Microsoft test engineer who laundered stolen Xbox credits into $10m guilty of fraud


To be honest, 20 years? He may serve 10. Depending on how much money he has managed to hide well enough that it can't be reclaimed I wonder if he may come out of 10 years of living for free to leave the country and live the easy life off 10 years of interest on investments he made with the ill-gotten cash?

Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police


Re: Would be happy ...

I developed my wider interests in IT as a result of;

A) Needing/Wanting to play games and requiring technology in order to do so.

B) Being pretty well useless for anything else, having spent my formative years playing video games.


The police have a massive cultural problem in dealing with high-tech crime. The kind of person who is good at picking through complex high tech evidence and building a case against someone is almost the diametric opposite of the kind of person who integrated well with police "Van Culture". Historically what they've tried to do it take someone who's good an investigating burglaries and re-train them to be good at investigating tech crime. Which doesn't work, not least because the subject is far too complex, nuanced and fast changing to be covered in a 2-week one-time course.

The NCA was supposed to be the answer to this. However, they flunked the execution stage by - you guessed it - staffing it with coppers. Which was the problem all along. They've been positively selected to be crap at this.

Fed-up air safety bods ban A350 pilots from enjoying cockpit coffees


not the most dignified outcome - but why not give them sippie cups?

With a nice, strong screw on lid they'll only ever dribble if turned over. Which has to help.

Unlocking news: We decrypt those cryptic headlines about Scottish cops bypassing smartphone encryption


I do wonder if such systems are only able to read data, or if they can write it as well?

Radio nerd who sipped NHS pager messages then streamed them via webcam may have committed a crime


Your insurance may not pay out, but it remains a criminal offence (those are not the same thing). Think about it - if this wasn't the case then people could just wonder into each other's gardens and steal whatever they wanted. But it's true that it isn't "breaking and entering", which is a different offence to burglary that DOES require someone to "break in" to a premises.

not that this really matter. Intercepting and publishing private radio communications is clearly a different thing from entering a property with criminal intent...

Poor, poor mobile networks. UK's comms watchdog plans to stop 'em selling locked-down handsets


You're actually at liberty to buy an unlocked handset and sim-only contract right now.

I think if you want a £600 feature phone without paying £600 for it, going on a 24 month contract with a £25 a month charge for the handset is reasonable - same as if you can't afford anything you can pay for it over time on credit terms. I do think there are questions about the reasonableness of telling you that you must keep buying your airtime from them over that term, though, provided you keep up the payments on the phone I don't see why you should be forced to give them your other business. That's like a car manufacturer selling you a car on finance terms and insisting you only get it serviced at main dealer during it's warranty and finance terms...... okay, bad example.....

Halfords invents radio signals that don't travel at the speed of light


Depends what you mean by "Fast". I guess you could argue;

A) DAB has more bandwidth than FM, so it is capable of getting more information to the user...

B) The frequency is higher, meaning you get more waves per second, ie it's a faster way to get 1 million "waves"...........

But I think this was written by some marketing drone with no idea how it all actually works & probably imagines it's like broadband & speed is actually a major thing for the consumer when listening to what is, effectively, an unbuffered media stream with no reliability built in.

DAB is now pretty good in the parts of the UK I frequent. There are occasional black spots, but I can get to Scala Radio, Jazz FM, Planet Rock and so on just fine for most of the UK. Trouble is. I can get FM basically anywhere.

High Court dismisses nameless Google Right To Be Forgotten sueball man... yes, again


Re: It seems that ABC is well aware of the Streisand effect

I'd imagine he'll be paying them through his solicitor.

Mind you. Why are we all assuming the male pronoun here? - El Reg used it, but do we know that it is a man?

Reaction Engines' precooler tech demo chills 1,000°C air in less than 1/20th of a second


Just where in the hell is everyone going in a such a hurry?


RAF pilot seconded to Virgin Orbit for three years of launching rockets from a 747


I don't recall the details. But there was a plan back in the day to launch rockets under huge balloons. The plan was they would float up (like giant weather balloons) to high altitude without using any fuel and then the rocket engine would ignite and blast the rocket through the balloon into space from 60,000 feet - climbing the first 60k without fuel was supposed to save a lot of fuel. I don't think much came of it. Possibly because the complexities of doing so far outweighed any savings in fuel.

Tesco parking app hauled offline after exposing 10s of millions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition images


I once got stopped by the police for having no numberplate on my motorcycle. The officer examined where the plate should have been and noticed the clean plastic where it had broken off, laughed and gave me directions to a motorcycle dealers who could make me a new plate. I went there, got a new plate and found the sneaky bugger parked up outside to make sure I did it. He even wondered over to lend me a screwdriver from his car's toolkit to help fit it.

I think that's how policing should be done. It was obvious the plate had just dropped off a short while ago (probably due to the big thumper engine in the bike) because the broken part was still clean no other offences were present, so the officer used his discretion. And this is the point of getting actual humans to enforce rules rather than buggy computer code...

AMD agrees to cough up $35-a-chip payout over eight-core Bulldozer advertising fiasco


Spin and bullcrap

I think the problem here is that the word "Core" is actually a marketing term. What is a "Core"? - if someone says "It can process 2 thread simultaneously" then that's a specific, testable claim. But since the term "Core" doesn't have a specific technical meaning, it's a little harder to test the claim since the speaker is allowed to define what a "core" is in terms of the product under discussion.

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


149 is around 6 days. So I don't know how serious this actually is as it seems pretty unlikely an aircraft would remain sat there for 6 days, powered on and not being used. Unless the aircraft is put in some kind of "sleep" mode, or something like that and the time is still counting up.

Even so. Doesn't sound a hard one to fix with a routine that refuses the start the engines if the aircraft is on the ground and has over 120 hours since the last reboot.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP


I know it's sad - I used to use them. But they've not been Demon for some years. Not really.

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


Shotguns are definitely a better option than rifles, any gamekeeper will tell you that.

As far as jamming goes - they'd have to block rather a lot of channels to down the drone, since most of them use frequency hopping. There is the usual 2.4 Ghz band. It could also be using 5ghz, or maybe using WiFi or mobile data etc etc. And how do you tell if the signal you're jamming is the drone control signal out of the morass of signals you're typically dealing with? - of course it could simply be pre-programmed with waypoints so not using a signal at all.

You can keep a heli in the area to look for it, but that would have the same essential effect as the drone (!) if help in the air. If kept on the ground, contrary to what you see in action movies, taking off in a helicopter takes several minutes - especially from a major international airport. So by the time the thing is in the air the drone probably will have vanished again.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that apparently nobody has come forward to claim responsibility for this?

Concerns over cops' crap computer kit: UK MPs call for cash, capacity, command


Having experience of both policing and IT I can tell you that the Police themselves are culturally incapable of tackling high tech crime. They've almost been bred to be exactly the wrong sort of people to do it.

To he honest. At this point I'd take high-tech and organised crime off the County forces and give it to a regional force made up of as few old-school cops as possible - made mainly out of geeks and nerds. Not necessarily graduates, but people from industry or with relevant skills.

High tech crime is inherently complex and nuanced. It's not really suitable for investigation by someone who's been more-or-less bred to look for simple, quick disposals. And it's amazing how few people who can understand code, computer networks and so on want to spend 2 years on street duties before they can possibly apply for what they actually want to do with uncertain probability of actually getting it. All what earning less than they could do for any outsourcer or consultancy.

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...


In reality, cars are not going to make these decisions - which are value judgement. They're simply going to try to avoid a collision with the object. If they swerve to avoid an animal and then a human also gets in the way and there is no solution to them avoiding the human, they'll hit them. If hazards appear at the exact same moment, it'll try to avoid both but if that's not possible, the laws of physics will dictate the outcome, not the car's logic.

Imagine the product liabity on anything else - The product effectively making a positive decision to kill someone because they're less valuable than someone else? - no way, Jose. It'll just be "avoid all collisions, until the laws of physics determine what you hit".

You'll never guess what you can do once you steal a laptop, reflash the BIOS, and reboot it


For me, sleep/hibernate/suspend are for walking from one meeting to another. Or Possibly to preserve battery life when you're going AFK for a bit. They're not for making sure your PC pops up as you left it the following day. People do that and then complain when their PC runs slowly and takes 30 minutes to reboot when it finally, finally, finally gets to patch. Memory leaks are still a thing, I'm afraid.

Anon man suing Google wants crim conviction to be forgotten


I think it's up the other people to decide if someone's "spent" conviction is important, or not. Clearly they do think it's important (or ABC anticipates that they will), since he's fussed about getting it removed.

Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested


Re: Back in my day

yeah, it's always the lowly branch manager, though. genuinely senior people usually realise it's best to encourage people you're relying on.

'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'


Re: I wonder if there's corellation here...

if anyone is rude to me, I just walk off. don't care who they are, I'm not paid for that.


Re: I'm not sure what's worse

You might l like to open any modern Windows-based PC and run the program "PSR.EXE"

It's not AS good, but pretty good nonetheless.

Tor-forker Joshua Yabut cuffed for armoured personnel carrier joyride


It isn't a tank, its a mobile command post. It's armour is proof (ish) against light weapons (ie handguns), but other than that its about equivalent to a not-very-efficient earthmover.

There are no reports of casualties or serious damage, and he was arrested peacefully. Sounds like the police handled it pretty well. I wonder how many of those pursuing cars were military police?

New UK drone laws are on the way – but actual Drones Bill still in limbo


Badly reported, or badly done?

If they've literally just used the word "Drone" in the legislation then they do have a problem. I'd argue that a "drone" is actually self-controlled (ie waypoints or AI). Whereas what I fly (manually) is a quadcopter. Certainly I don't think my Heli or fixed wing types are "drones".

I guess is the legislation contains a legal definition of "drone" then it could be fair enough, but then again if people appeal and say the legislation is faulty because what you're defining as a "drone" isn't... Where does that leave you? You could expand the definition of "drone" to encompass all model aircraft, really.

To be honest, I think the 250g weight limit is too low. I also disagree with putting the matter under the auspices of the CAA who - speaking frankly - are motivated to do what they can to ruin drones because they're a competitor to their industry. It's like putting gaslighters in charge of managing these new-fangled electric lights.


Re: Great weight limit

Oh, yes. It weighs less than nothing.

Although it's MASS is many tonnes. It's weight is low.

T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta


Re: So if I trademark all combinations of RGB.. @ Charlie Clark

I do wonder, if I have a zit on my arse in "Megacorp Pink", will I get a letter from their lawyers?

There are many, many good reasons I should wear trousers in public. But that shouldn't be one.

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain


in my view the crash provided an opportunity for the airlines do to something they would have done anyway, if it wasn't for the opprobrium it would attract.

concorde, for all its technical achievements, was simply conceptually misconceived. Not that many people travelling wanted to do so in cramped conditions at great expense to do something in 6 hours (allowing for travel to the airport, check in etc) that could be done in 8 in relative comfort and value.

User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot


I used to do helpdesk for a major bank. It was amazing how often we'd get phone calls from users telling us their computer was really, really slow. And we'd check the management software - and it's not been rebooted for 30 days+.

So. I'd tell them to reboot it at lunchtime or at hometime. Most of the time, though, they just turned the monitor off and on again - or outright lied to us about doing anything at all.

So I instead asked them to call in when they were going home or going to lunch and I'd do an "administrative shutdown & rebuild" for them (just a reboot from the command prompt in reality). Then I'd log them back in and lock the PC when it came back up. So when they got back, everything was ready for them.

Sometimes it's the medicine. Sometimes it's the spoon.

Punctual as ever, Equifax starts snail-mailing affected Brits about mega-breach


Should be as simple as this. You need a licence to hold personal data. It can be revoked. If it IS revoked, you need to delete the personal data as you are no longer considered fit to hold it.

Not really that complex. Of course anyone relying on data from someone who didn't have a licence to hold it would be on VERY Dodgy ground, legally.

Which would basically screw their business model completely. Which is what they deserve for this.

You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec



There is a definite problem with outsourcing. If you think most people lie on their CVs, it's nothing compared to what a lot of outsourcers do at the pitch meeting. Several times I've seen entire departments outsourced, only to come back as contractors a few months later because the people who took the job on couldn't actually do it - but the boss can't admit it was a massive mistake and bring the jobs back. Sometimes it's their ego, sometimes it's the exit clauses.

The really charming one is when they ask the staff who's job is being outsourced to fly to India (or wherever) and train their replacements in the job they're just been made redundant from. And often the outsourcers blame the empty when their staff can't cut it "Oh, they didn't help at all - I think they had a bit of an attitude after being made redundant!".

Neglected Pure Connect speaker app silenced in iOS 11's war on 32-bit


Re: Sale of Goods Act

Not sure about that. Arguably it's limited to it's warranty. You bought it, the warranty expired. It stopped working. But they only said it would work for 12 months, anyway.

I don't buy that argument because it hasn't stopped working (it's fine) which is what warranties are there for, but did they actually agree to provide updates to any future OS? because you do - of course - have the option of using the older OS it was designed for if you want to. That may not be wise or convenient, but you do have it. Unless you've already rejected that option by upgrading to 11. But that's your choice.

AMD comes out swinging, says: We're the Buster Douglas of the tech industry!


It's kinda interesting...

I've long used AMD stuff. It's fine, honestly. I've used AMD since the days of the first AMD I386DX40 I bought. Back then people said "Get the intel - it's faster". And it was - slightly - but also more expensive.

I think for some people the biggest disincentive to AMD is simply "It's not an Intel" and the perception that it's a cheap knock-off of a "proper" CPU. Like not buying an Android because it's a knock-off of an iPhone and "not a proper smartphone" (different scale, but similar Logic).

I do wonder how much Intel would actually like AMD to go away. I think they probably don't want that as they don't want to be in a monopoly (often bad things happen - like being open-sourced) and really want a dominant market position that isn't *quite* a monopoly.

Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck


There is a kinda patchy history with Vacuum companies making electrical cars for eccentric British inventors........................

iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn


So. It can - briefly - sprint to do something very quickly that only a few people will want doing?

I mean - don't get me wrong - it's impressive and all. But is it actually - genuinely - valuable?

Apple’s facial recognition: Well, it is more secure for the, er, sleeping user


I have no idea how to do this.... but.

How about getting multiple images of a face from different angles, then using that to work out the measurements of the face. Once you have multiple angles that ought to become easier. Scoping social media ought to give you enough images to get a pretty good impression of the face from different angles.

One your have that, you can then make a 3D printed mask of the face and print/paint facial features on to it, also garnered from social media. A few years ago this would have been too pixelated, but now days most phones have pretty decent cameras in them, so high def images are easy.

I doubt it's easy, as I say I have no idea how to do it, but equally I know that with enough maths it ought to be possible.

Vodafone won't pay employee expenses for cups of coffee


I do wonder to what extent people withdraw their "goodwill" when benefits are cut. it's easy to put the costs on a spreadsheet and show you've saved money, but there are less tangible costs involved.

What they don't see is that salesman visiting the client and turning up cranky because his Octavia greenline is not as a nice as the BMW 320d he used to have. Or the technician who at 4pm says "Well, I'd better hit the road if I want to be home for dinner", rather than billing another 2 hours. They've got no idea the guys who fixed the CRM databases at 11am Thursday would, for the price of Pizza haven't fixed it 8pm Wednesday. One risk is that the company looks "cheap" or, worse "desperate" and gets the smell of death about it - both customers and competitors will get that.

On the one hand, there is no reason for a technical rep to have a company Porsche or for a sales droid to stay in a £2000 a night knightsbridge hotel. On the other, you can't really rely on the goodwill of a many who's forced to bring his own sarnies to a conference, where everyone else pops to the bar afterwards.

Bank IT fella accused of masterminding multimillion-dollar insider-trading scam


there are plenty of good ways to communicate data securely that don't need an app. Or go low tech and use a burner or public phone......

I wonder why they added that speculation?

Microsoft ctrl-Zs 'killing' Paint, by which we mean offering naff app through Windows Store


I like Paint.Net - it's a nicely enhanced version of Paint.exe that is nicely judged for clipping and adding notes to photos and the line.

John McAfee plans to destroy Google. Details? Ummm...


I am not a number...

I am a FREE MAN!

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude


It's certainly going to be disruptive, isn't it? When you can get your hands (or whatever other thing...) on the person of your dreams by ordering them. At the moment how many of us actually get someone who, physically, is precisely what we want? Not only that, but how many of us keep that person? - Nobody - because real-world people age and wear and change their minds etc. We all have things that we find particularly attractive in a person. Occasionally we will see someone who hits most of those points and, even if we're in a committed relationship or there is a ridiculous age gap, or they're clearly with someone or whatever we will - even if we do nothing - find our eyes drawn back to them and think to ourselves "if only". With this technology you'll be able to order that person. And keep them. And even modify them to be slightly different because you've discovered something new you like. Hell's there is even the possibility of getting a photo of your crush and getting a replica made. Or of licencing the image of pron stars to be used in the dolls.

My point is - how can a real person who must play the genetic lottery and live in the real world with all the challenges, infirmities and uncertainties that it brings hope to compete with someone made in a factory to exacting specifications that can be changed and refined at any time? How can someone with independent thought, needs and knowledge hope to compete with someone who's one directive is to please you in any way possible?

My guess is that if this technology ever does see light, then it will be in brothels. Or possibly people will have one person who's their "life partner" and a robot for sex. Perhaps the robot will even join them for sex? Making it a four-way, potentially, at least. Is that really that much different from the wife keeping a vibrator in her knicker-drawer?

And this "kids thing" - creepy as f*ck and apt to normalise it. Definitely illegal, and should remain so.

Nokia's retro revival 3310 goes on sale and disappears immediately


so. a lot of people just want a mobile telephone, not a portable computer?

‪There's a ransom-free fix for WannaCry‬pt. Oh snap, you've rebooted your XP box


I would imagine that most people - upon finding they're infected - leap for the power button immediately.

User loses half of a CD-ROM in his boss's PC


A single-speed cd spins at 200-500 RPM (depending on where it's being read)

52x that is 10,400 RPM, at slowest.

120mm across. (or 0.12 meters) x 3.14 (pi) = 380 CM circumference (.38 meters)

.38 X 10,400 = 3952 meters/minute/60=65 Meters a second. X2.5 to give us full speed. 164 M/Sec

164 m/sec = about 360 MPH, outer rim speed. Slightly less than half the speed of sound.

Yep. They're moving.



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